My fiancé and I are getting married in June in my hometown of Dallas but when we scheduled our engagement sessions last September, we knew we wanted to do them in our current home of Oklahoma City. Since neither of us are from here, we ask other friends for photographer recommendations and then true to form, I researched different locations around town and then went to scout them out a few weekends before. I took some time to search Pinterest, Style Me Pretty, The Knot and Brides of Oklahoma to gather some other inspiration about clothing, props, locations and poses I liked. All of this to say, I felt pretty comfortable and prepared going into our engagement session. But when we showed up, it was like I got stage fright. I had never been professionally photographed before except for a few family photos when I was much younger and my brothers and I hadn’t yet learned to say no to matching outfits and posed pictures by the lake. I felt so awkward and I could not stop laughing! I was certain I was going to ruin all of the pictures and it was going to be a waste of the entire engagement session. Luckily, I was able to push past the awkward beginning and it ended up being one of our favorite things we have done throughout the entire planning process. And one of my favorite photos is actually of Cole and I laughing because it was a true, genuine “What the heck are we doing right now?!” laugh.
So, today I wanted to share a few tips for an enjoyable engagement session.
Be yourself. This goes for everything from picking out your outfits to choosing locations and poses. If you have never worn a dress in your life, then wearing a formal gown in your engagements is probably not the answer. If you and your fiancé love to be outdoors, maybe you even have a special park that means something to you, that’s a great place to take these photos! Maybe you are big foodies or are regulars at your local wine bar or coffee shop. Ask the manager if you can come in during off hours and take some pictures. I’ve even seen some engagement sessions recently done in the couples home and I loved that idea! What could be more personal than taking these pictures in your own kitchen where you cook together every night?
This is not the time to try something new. Do not get your roommate’s best friend’s cousin to do your makeup that morning without ever meeting her before. Do not try out a new spray tan place the night before because you got a Groupon. You are going to use these pictures on Save the Dates, in your guest book, at your showers, on your website and at your wedding so make sure they #1 actually look like you and #2 don’t have to be edited to make your orange, streaky skin look normal.
Having said that, I do believe this is the time to splurge a little on clothing. I am not saying you have to go buy a $500 dress but take your dress to the tailor if it doesn’t fit you perfectly. Spend the extra money to get a new shirt that doesn’t have a hole under the arm. I don’t care if you really love the shirt and promise if you work the right poses you won’t be able to see the hole. Same goes for you guy! Get him a new shirt that fits or a new blazer. Tell him how handsome he looks and allow him to feel confident too. Trust me, the pictures will turn out better if you aren’t worried about hiding your bra strap or pulling at the hem of your dress. I also wouldn't recommend renting a dress for this occasion unless you have some tried and true backups ready to go. I've also had my dress not show up on time before you and you don't want to be running to the mall an hour before the pictures. There will be other places you can cut corners and costs throughout the planning process. Invest in these pictures. You'll thank yourself later.
Have fun and let loose. Enjoy getting all dressed up together and spending some uninterrupted time gazing into each other’s eyes in public without people thinking you’re crazy. Go out for drinks or dinner afterwards to celebrate. Make a date of it!
I hope these tips have helped! If you have any other great tips, I’d love to hear them. And with that, I’ll leave you with a few of our favorite pictures from our engagement session. Thanks for reading!